MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The victim of an armed robbery at a high-end Coral Gables mall is speaking out and warning others.
On Tuesday, Coral Gables Police released an image of the man they are looking for seen wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and another man who was with him following the robbery.
Investigators said a woman was trying to get into her parked car at the Shops at Merrick Park on April 24th just before 8 p.m. when the robbery happened.
“I thought I was in a dream. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me,” the 69 year-old victim told CBS4 News on Tuesday, asking that her name not be used. “All of a sudden it was my worst nightmare.”
The victim said she had a “wonderful time shopping” at the high-end Merrick Park, and then made her way to her car on the main level of the parking garage. The bandit was captured by multiple security cameras in the mall and parking garage, but the actual robbery was screened from view.
The victim said she had just put her purchases and purse down on the seat beside her in her Jaguar when the robber struck.
“The door opened right away, and there stood this man waving this gun at me. All I could see was this man with this gun and thinking ‘please don’t kill me. Please don’t shoot me,’” she said. The woman gave police a good description of the robber, his gray hoodie and tight, dark leggings.
Cameras later spotted him at a Target Store located at 21265 Biscayne Boulevard using the woman’s stolen credit card with another person in a red t-shirt and blue ball cap. They loaded up on gift cards, headphones and clothing.
Armed robbery is not common in Coral Gables and police are concerned the man who committed the April 24th robbery in the Chichi Mall garage, well before dark, could escalate his level of violence.
“The potential for somebody getting shot or killed next time is a concern for us,” said Coral Gables Police Officer Kelly Denham.
Everyone CBS4 talked to said they’ll be a little more careful, but still believe this is the safest place in Miami to shop.
Yoly Cuello, who works at the mall, said, “As you can see around you, it’s a lot of police officers and a lot of security over here.”
“I usually think this is the safest area in Miami. I never really have any problems, and my parents never really have a problem letting me come here,” said shopper Sofia Ferreiro. “I really can’t believe that happened here, I feel, like I said, this is a very safe area.”
Another shopper, Cari Ruiz-Calderon, said, “You have to be careful, because Miami is not a city that you could trust anything anymore.”
The victim said she has learned a lesson that everyone should.
“I should have had my radar up, knowing that I was alone and I was a sitting duck,” she said. “I want other people to be more alert.”
She said she has had to change all the locks in her home, re-format her car keys and get identity theft protection. The robber got her driver’s license and social security number.
Police are asking anyone who recognizes the man at the mall or his companion at the Target store to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471- TIPS.